There can be no more contemporary issue than the rise of the New Age Movement. Indeed, the scope of this movement is so wide that it raises up a multitude of contemporary issues. Over the last twenty or thirty years it has emerged out of the hippie movement into a ‘respectable’ alternative religion followed by many influential people. It has the potential of developing into the one world religion before the end of the millennium. This may seem to be an extravagant claim until one analyses the roots of new age thinking.
New Age ideas are rooted in many of the Eastern Religions including Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism and so are already acceptable to countless millions across the world. World leaders who come from backgrounds associated with Eastern philosophies are only too ready to bring them into the world arena. There is also a Western brand of New Age thinking which is promoted vigorously and by leaders of many institutions. The New Age Movement is all-inclusive, allowing any background religion, practice or creed to be the entry point. It denies the sinful nature and encourages the belief that God is to be found in the (unregenerate) nature of every person. It is, therefore, attractive to the sinful, fallen nature of mankind. New Age spirituality is, on top of all this, strong and spiritually seductive in nature. More and more people are being blinded to the true nature of this seductive spiritual attack, in which every counterfeit is used.
Infiltration into the Church
Over the last few years New Age counterfeits have even been finding doorways into the church despite warnings that have gone out. The ideas are not overtly presented but we are finding subtle infiltration of ideas with parallels in New Age teaching. For example, the ecological concerns raised by the ‘Green’ Movements have been taken up by New Age teachers. They have also come into the church via ‘Creation Centred Spirituality’. Similarly, the secular feminist movement has arisen, and alongside it the feminism of New Age thinking. Simultaneously, the feminist movement has been influential in the church. At the personal level there has been teaching in the church associated with ‘liberating the feminine spirit’ (in both females and males!). Also the secular and New Age trends to redefine family roles and roles relating to work have led to the recognition of feminine leadership and authority. This too has found its echoes in the church. In addition, the idea that God is both mother and father has had its influence in the church, paralleling the rise of feminism and the rise of New Age emphasis on the Goddess image. The rise of feminism and the concern for ecology merge in the idea of ‘Mother Earth’. Add to this the ‘new’ thinking on prayer, meditation, prophecy, healing and many other things, and one can begin to see how subtle the New Age attacks are. They have already made many inroads into church life.
We can illustrate this by describing some of the things that occurred over the last couple of months as we have been developing the topic of community. We have noticed (deceptive) parallels in the work the New Age Movement emerging at the same time, and also ideas in the church that cause us concern relating to the same deceptive influences. Indeed, with every issue addressed in Tishrei we could find current activities of the New Age Movement involving a counterfeit expression of the same issue. These things demonstrate how urgent it is to recognise the subtle erosions that are going on and for us to put our roots down in the deep soil of biblical truth.
I have, on my desk, the latest brochure from the main UK New Age Centre (The Findhorn Foundation in Scotland). It is an attractive glossy colourful brochure containing pictures of what appears to be successful community life, but based on the idea of (I quote) ‘changing patterns of thinking and behaviour that keep us from experiencing inner freedom, self-empowerment and effectiveness in the world.’ It is a very attractive counterfeit which demands no true rebirth in Jesus Christ. On the surface one would suppose this to be a very successful and attractive way of celebrating community life. Yet it is full of deception.
I have also received an invitation from a ‘Christian’ organisation in Oxford which has opened a centre for Creation Centred Spirituality, with workshops described, for example, in the following ways: ‘An Extended Family Workshop: A playful in-depth investigation into the role of the DNA, our great, great, grandparents and a trillion laughing stars!’ and ‘A Council of all beings: There is a new vision emerging, one which invites us into a spirituality of connection to life, and into newer, vaster sense of what we are. Ecology is not just something ‘out there’ it is something we are part of, and have a role to play in. This Deep Ecology workshop is about experiencing ourselves playfully but seriously, as part of the living earth through the eyes of one of the non-human of the species.’
These mystical ideas connected with pantheism and modern day ecology are not what we mean by the roots of our faith, yet these things are growing, related to New Age thinking and in the church.
While I was attending a colloquium in Atlanta USA on the need to restore our Jewish heritage, between sessions, I happened to see on satellite TV a live presentation of the ordination of the first women priests in the Anglican church. By coincidence, one of our main and moving discussions at the colloquium was on the family and believing community, including roles and authority structure, and the television programme simply highlighted to me just how relevant the theme is and how urgent it is to gain a right perspective on family and community, as we drift away from the teaching of the Bible.
During the compilation of this issue of Tishrei I have also received the latest newsletter from World Goodwill. This organisation is a very prominent New Age organisation. It seeks to address important issues from current affairs and also to influence leaders of nations in all institutions of society. By coincidence the topic of the newsletter was ‘the family’ and in a humanistic way (actually a spiritually humanistic way, which is one way of describing the spirituality of the New Age Movement) emphasis was made on the means of recovering family values in the world. Again the New Age counterfeit is at work in an area overlapping the same issue addressed by Tishrei.
Thus, as I was preparing this edition on Community, I was very conscious of the importance of the theme, with what seems like more than enough to do to combat deceptions from the New Age Movement and infiltration into the church. The same would be true of a multitude of other topics and all of our attention could clearly be given to addressing these issues. Yet, while all this is going on there is an even more subtle problem in the background to the New Age Movement which could be potentially more destructive than anything that has been highlighted so far in this paper. The New Age Movement promotes a subtle anti-Semitism which could easily be missed as we pay attention to these other urgent matters in the foreground. Indeed, this anti-Semitic attack is so subtle that it even has the potential of destroying all our attempts at restoring the Jewish heritage. This would be done by eroding away the Jewish heritage itself.
New Age Anti-Semitism in the Background
The answer to the subtle deceptions of the New Age Movement is for the deeper (Jewish) roots of our faith to be emphasised in our communities as, possibly, never before. Yet this subtle anti-Semitism that is ingrained into the New Age Movement may be the very thing that opposes any attempt to emphasise a Jewish heritage. In the coming days all who emphasise the Jewish heritage will be accused of divisive nationalistic pride which is considered outdated and a stumbling block to international ideals of conforming to New Age principles. The subtlety of this is that it could go unnoticed in the context of the more obvious manifestations of New Age infiltration in the church and in the world, such as we have outlined above. We might fight a battle on one front and leave the enemy win a victory on another if we are not made aware of this.
A recent paper by Dr Margaret Brearley reminded me of this anti-Semitic force behind the scenes and has prompted the writing of this paper.
To make our point we will highlight a series of books by Alice Bailey. These books form the foundational teaching of World Goodwill, the major international New Age organisation quoted above.
What I am saying is this. On the one hand we are seeking to respond to many of the challenges to the Christian Faith. Our response is to study the deep heritage that was brought to us in the context of what we have called the Jewish Roots. The main areas of deception are coming from the New Age Movement in our day. In addition to the attack on the roots of our faith, however, we can also discover a subtle attack on the Jewish people themselves, and on the religion of the Jews. This can be discovered within the literature of the New Age Movement; and hence a subtle intent is exposed that is behind the many other manifestations of this movement. This attack, as we will illustrate, is to neutralise the Jewishness of the Jews. The Nazis tried to eliminate the Jews. The New Age Movement is more subtle and would try to have their Jewish identity eroded away. This is a background motive of the spiritual forces behind the New Age Movement. Hence it is vitally relevant to us, who are conscious of a Jewish heritage that is to be preserved and brought to fulfilment, to recognise that the spiritual enemy could weaken both the church and the Jewish people by this subtle tactic. Without the Jewish identity coming to fulfilment (that is, Messianic Judaism) there is no true rallying point for Jews and Christians to meet as the age reaches its climax.
Nature of the Anti-Semitism
Alice Bailey died in 1948, leaving behind more than twenty books which are prominent in the teaching (directly or indirectly) of many, if not all, New Age Movement organisations. The books are published by the Lucis Trust (formerly the Lucifer Trust) which is the publications branch of World Goodwill (mentioned above). Many of these books have extensive sections on the Jews. Indeed, wherever nations or people groups are discussed the Jews get a special mention. We must remember that the New Age Movement recognises great problems among the nations and proposes a solution to these problems. Thus the index references to the Jews in these books will usually include something like ‘The Jewish problem’. There is a kind of subtle indoctrination programme which seems to address the Jews as needy people and having problems that must be solved for their good and the good of mankind.
They are presented as people holding on to an outdated religion which is both harmful to them and a disruptive factor in the world. Their claims to the Land of Israel are presented as being mistaken in the present day. These ideas are very subtle. They seem to come from an understanding and sympathetic motive but when taken in the context of the physical threats to Israel by her Middle Eastern neighbours, in our day, these ideas simply reinforce the views of those who would have Israel driven out of the land.
A New Age philosophy is that during the transition from the Piscean Age to the Age of Aquarius there will be spiritual conflicts as the transition from one set of spiritual rays to another takes place. Thus there is another subtle thread that goes through the teaching, that while warfare and violence is not promoted, it is nevertheless expected. This is subtle because it will cause a casual attitude to warfare to grow among those who believe in this kind of teaching, seeing it as ultimately leading to the New Age of peace as Aquarian spiritual rays come in: a sad but transient necessity, perhaps. It will also lead, when put alongside the idea that the ‘Jewish problem’ must be solved, to an acceptance of inevitable pressures in the Middle East and the idea that those who would remove the Nation of Israel from the Land of Israel are in the right.
It is a subtle anti-Semitism which would open the door to passive acceptance of Satan rising up in aggression against the Nation of Israel (a ‘necessary evil’!). Furthermore, Alice Bailey states that the Jews have the same characteristics as the Nazis! Again, subtly, she denounces what the Nazis did against the Jews, while leaving the door open for mankind to look on the Jews as being as evil as those who perpetrated the terrible evil of the holocaust!
The most subtle aspect of this anti-Semitism is, however, the suggestion that the ‘Jewish problem’ is because the Jews believe in their ancient identity. Alice Bailey puts over the idea (and uses (mis)quotations from the Bible to support her argument) that every effort should be made to take away all of the Jewish identity, leading to full assimilation among the nations. When this is considered alongside the subtle attacks of New Age counterfeits on family life, community life, festival celebrations, and so on, we see that this subtle anti-Semitism is a major part of the thrust of the New Age Movement, particularly when some of the New Age manifestations of teaching are evident in Jewish communities. Indeed, I would suggest that we are likely to see a major rise of the New Age counterfeit in many subtle (i.e. not obvious) ways in Jewish communities in the coming days. It will be one of the counterparts to ‘assimilation’. The enemy will pull the stops out to destroy both the Jews and the Jewish heritage. This is subtle because it is probably the main aim of the New Age Movement and yet it is hidden behind many of the more obvious manifestations. Indeed, it comes as if brought for the good of mankind, including the Jews. This is, of course, the way we should expect the ‘angel of light’ to work.
Hence, as well as promoting wide-ranging deceptions, impinging on the church as well as the world, there are dangerous undertones in the New Age Movement which seek to destroy the very heritage which we would seek to recover as a defence against the Movement itself. Indeed, this form of anti-Semitism is both anti-Jew and anti-Christian because it is anti-biblical heritage. The attack is on Jews and true Christians alike.
I will illustrate the points made in this brief exposure by quoting from some of Alice Bailey’s books. Pray before you read and also remember that this is a prominent source of New Age teaching and New Age anti-Semitism.
1. “I would point out that the fourth energy, focused in the Jewish problem, is definitely producing cleavage as a part of the divine plan. The Jews are instruments in the working out of the Plan for the production of certain synthesis and to bring humanity to certain realisations and decisions …… it expresses the present situation in the interim period between the old Piscean age which is passing and the new Aquarian age which is coming in ….. I wonder whether you can grasp the implications of this paragraph. When the mind aspect (the third aspect of the personality) is more fully developed, then the focus of the effort of the Dark Forces will change and the problem of the Jews will disappear.” (The Externalisation of the Hierarchy, p.88)
2. “Down the ages, the Jew has been wandering, producing much of beauty in the world and giving to humanity many of its greatest men, but he has (at the same time) been hated and persecuted, betrayed and hounded. He embodies in himself, symbolically, the history of humanity. The ancient tendency of the Jews is to grasp and hold, and also to preserve their racial and national integrity, are their outstanding national characteristics. They cannot be absorbed, and yet no nation in the world…. had advanced so far that all its foremost people stood upon the path of discipleship.” (Esoteric Psychology 1, p.399. NB Here, discipleship refers to discipleship in the New Age Movement)
3. “The Jews hang on to a religion which is basically obsolete. I asked myself a few days ago what part of the Old Testament was worth preserving. Much of it is dreadful, cruel and only because the literature is found in the Bible does it pass the post-office regulations. I decided that the ten commandments must be preserved, one or two of the Bible stories such as the love of David and Jonathan, the 23rd Psalm and the 91st Psalm with a few others and about four chapters in the Book of Isaiah. All the rest was largely useless or undesirable, and much that was left fed pride and nationalism of the people. That which stands between the orthodox Jew and the mass of the Gentiles are his religious taboos, for the Jewish faith is largely a religion of “Thou shalt not.” That which conditions Gentile thinking concerning the unorthodox and younger Jew is his materialism, of which Shylock is the symbol.
“As I write these words I am conscious of their inadequacy and lack of complete fairness and yet from the standpoint of a broad generalisation, they are absolutely true – although from the standpoint of an individual Jew they are in many, many cases grossly unfair. There is much in the Jew and the German which is alike. The German regards himself as a member of the ‘super race’ whilst the orthodox Jew regards himself as the Chosen People. The German emphasises ‘racial purity’ and so have the Jews down the ages. The Jew never seems to assimilate.” (The Unfinished Autobiography, pp. 120-121)
4. “The Jews are a group of people in whom the principle of separation is pronouncedly present. For ages they have, with determination and in obedience to the injunctions in the Old Testament, insisted on regarding themselves as a people set apart. For ages they have held themselves separated off from all other peoples in the world. The result is that they are now evoking from the races among whom they are scattered a corresponding desire to force that very separation upon them.” (Esoteric Psychology 2, p.580)
5. “These factors demonstrate the complexity of the problem from the Jewish angle and its irritating and frictional nature to the Gentile. This irritating factor is something which the Jew seldom if ever recognises. The Gentile today neither remembers nor cares that the Jews were instrumental in having Christ put to death (according to The New Testament); he is more apt to remember that Christ was a Jew and to wonder why the Jew was not the first to claim and love Him. He remembers far more acutely Jewish business methods, the fact that the Jew, if orthodox, regards Gentile food as impure for him and that the Jew considers his citizenship as secondary to his racial obligations. He regards the Jew as a follower of an obsolete religion; he intensely dislikes the cruel and jealous Jehovah of the Jews and looks upon The Old Testament as the history of a cruel and aggressive people – apart from the Psalms of David, which all men love.
“These are the points to which the Jew at no time seems to pay attention and yet it is these things in their aggregate which have set the Jew apart from the world in which he wants to live and be happy and in which he is the victim of an inheritance which could with profit be modernised. Nowhere is the emergence of a new world religion more greatly needed than in the case of the Jew in the modern world.” (Problems of Humanity, pp. 100-101)
6. “The great experiences upon the various mountain tops as related in the Bible have all to do with Capricorn. Moses, the Lawgiver on Mount Sinai, is Saturn in Capricorn imposing the law of karma upon the people. A clue to the significance of the Jewish people as ‘a karmic clearing house.’ The Mount of Transfiguration in the New Testament is Venus in Capricorn when love and mind and will meet in the person of Christ, and ‘He was transfigured’ before all men. At the same time, He received the vision of the Father and of what He had to do as He ‘went up to Jerusalem,’ the place of death and likewise the city of peace. This Jerusalem is Pisces. In Aquarius, Christ put his disciples in touch with the ‘man, bearing a pitcher of water,’ Aquarius, and in the upper room introduced them to union and unity under the symbolism of the communion feast. For that feast, humanity is today preparing, as we saw when studying the last constellation. The astrological significance of the New Testament is as yet little understood. Christ was born in Capricorn, fulfilled the law under Saturn, initiated the era of intelligent brotherhood under Venus and is the perfect example of the Capricornian initiate who becomes the World Server in Aquarius, and the world Saviour in Pisces, thus completing the round of the Zodiac and able to say triumphantly in Pisces ‘It is finished.’” (Esoteric Astrology, pp.167-168)
7. “The Jewish problem will not be solved by taking possession of Palestine, by plaint demand and by financial manipulations. That would be but the prolongation of ancient wrong and material possessiveness. The problem will be solved by the willingness of the Jew to conform to the civilisation, the cultural background and the standards of living of the nation to which – by the fact of birth and education – he is related and with which he should assimilate. It will come by the relinquishment of pride of race and the concept of selectivity; it will come by renouncing dogmas and customs which are intrinsically obsolete and which create points of constant irritation to the matrix within which the Jew finds himself; it will come when selfishness in business relations and the pronounced manipulative tendencies of the Hebrew people are exchanged for more selfless and honest forms of activity. The Jewish problem will be solved by intermarriage.” (Esoteric Healing, pp.266-267)
8. “Four problems will be solved in the next two centuries:
1. The problem of territorial possessions …..
2. The problem of sex …..
3. The problem of death ….
4. The problem of the Jews which is symbolically the problem of humanity as a whole…..The Jew made this mistake and, as an Oriental race, the Jews have failed to hold before the Orient the divine nature of mankind as a whole, for all are equally divine and all are the Lord’s elect. Calvin and all who followed his lead made the same mistake and instead of holding before the people of the Occident the realisation that those who recognised their essential divinity did so symbolically on behalf of all the developing, incarnating sons of God, they regarded themselves as the Chosen People and all who did not think as they did are regarded as lost. When the Jew and the narrow-minded religious devotees recognise their identity with all other people and express this identity through right relationship, we shall see a very different world. The world problem is essentially a religious problem and behind all strife in every department of world thought today is to be found the religious element.” (The Destiny of the Nations, pp.34-35)
9. “The Jews, by their illegal and terroristic activities; have laid a foundation of great difficulty for those who are seeking to promote world peace. As a Jewish member of my Ashram pointed out (and I commend him on his soul vision), the Jews have partially again opened the door to the Forces of Evil, which worked originally through Hitler and his evil gang. The ‘sealing’ of that door had not been successfully accomplished, and it is the part of wisdom to discover this in time. These Forces of Evil work through a triangle of evil, one point of which is to be found in the Zionist Movement in the United States, another in central Europe, and a third in Palestine. Palestine is no longer a Holy Land and should not be so regarded.” (The Rays and the Initiations, pp. 429-430)
10. “The Jews are governed by the third Ray of Active Intelligence, the energy which permeates and controls matter or substance. They were also, during the years immediately following the war, under the control of a glamour imposed by the Zionist Dictators, who were attempting (somewhat unsuccessfully) to be to the Jewish people what Stalin and his group, and Hitler and his gang, have been to their people. They worked through the same methods – terrorising, withholding information, browbeating their opponents, making false claims and bribing and corrupting. They were and are a minority, but a powerful minority because of their great wealth and their being in positions of power. They are claiming a land to which they have no possible right and which the Jews have ignored for two thousand years. Their attitude is perhaps the culminating aggressive action of the age and marks a climaxing point; it has produced a serious world tension, but out of this good may come and a ‘point of emergence for mankind’ be reached.” (The Rays and the Initiations, p.634)
11. “The Messiah … will be one of Christ’s senior disciples, but it will not be, as originally intended, the Christ. Symbolically, the Jews represent (from the point of view of the Hierarchy) that from which all Masters of Wisdom and Lords of Compassion emerge: materialism, cruelty and a spiritual conservatism, so that today they live in Old Testament times and are under the domination of the separative, selfish, lower concrete mind.
“But their opportunity will come again, and they may change when the fires of suffering at last succeed in purifying them and burning away their ancient crystallisation, thus liberating them to the extent that they can recognise their Messiah, Who will not, however, be the world Messiah.” (The Rays and the Initiations, pp. 705-706)
12. “Both the Germans and the Jews merit our impersonal love, particularly as they are both guilty (if I may use such a term) of the same basic errors and faults. The German is powerfully race conscious; so is the Jew. The German is separative in his attitude to the world; so is the Jew. The German insists on racial purity, a thing upon which the Jew has insisted for centuries. A small group of Germans are anti-Christian; so are an equally small number of Jews. I could continue piling up these resemblances but the above will suffice. Therefore, your dislike of one group is not more warranted than your refusal to recognise any justification for the activities and attitudes of the other.” (Glamour. A World Problem, p.147)
The subtleties of this form of anti-Semitism must be understood. It will be a prompt to test carefully the many far-ranging issues that are rising up in the world today. We must guard our entry points into both Christian and Jewish communities. I hope this brief exposure of evil will help us to keep guard, and also confirm the urgency of our times and of our necessary response in restoring the deeper roots of our faith.
(Reprinted, from Tishrei Vol 2, No 4, Summer 1994, Community)